WSJ: "The Next Chinese Trade Advantage: Professional Golfers"

Thanks to reader John for Brian Costa's overview of China and golf as Shanshan Feng is the top-ranked female player and Haotong Li continues to progress, entering The Masters as the highest-ever ranked Chinese golfer (No. 41).

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However their success seems unlikely to sustain the Chinese game as long as courses are considered illegal, a minor glitch in golf's grand plan to profit on the creation of overpriced, overbuilt courses.

But the obstacles are greater in China, where more than 200 courses have been closed as part of President Xi Jinping’s war on government corruption and gaudy symbols of wealth. Fewer than 500 courses remain in the country.

Gareth Winslow, a New Zealand-born golf coach who works in Shanghai, lost two jobs in recent years when a course and a driving range where he worked were abruptly shut down. “The bulldozers come in and just knock everything down, so there aren’t a lot of options after that,” he said.

And it still starts with driving ranges, par-3 courses and affordable places to start...

If Chinese professionals continue to make headlines overseas, it may draw more wealthy Chinese to the game, Winslow said, “but if China wants to become a global power in golf, there needs to be more accessibility.”